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   PlanetDreamcast | Games | Reviews | Ooga Booga
    Ooga Booga
Tribes. Boars. Shruken Heads. Joe VS The Volcano? - Review By Sempai - Page 1/2

Ooga Booga Logo

Best known to Dreamcast fans for their work on the Sega Sports 2k series, Visual Concepts has apparently traded in their motion capture studios for a patch of Polynesian islands, and a life-time supply of Shrunken Heads! Bizarre indeed, but was it a fair trade? Read on...

If the title of their latest game, Ooga Booga, doesn't clue you in to some wacky times ahead, allow me to break down the game's premise for you. Set on a group of mysterious islands, a group of polynesian tribes vie for the approval of their Volcano Goddess, Ooga Booga. The four tribes -- Twitchy, Fatty, Hoodoo and Hottie-- do so by sending forth their finest witch doctors, to compete in a trio of action-packed tournaments.

And this is, of course, where you step in. Ooga Booga is a fast-paced multi-player action game, set on a group of small, island arenas. 1-4 players can join in simultaneously, or go online to battle against wannabe witch doctors across the nation. The game centers around its rapid-fire pacing, variety of weapons, and wacky tribal theme. So does it deliver the goods? Or is it a few coconuts short of a Flaming-McStooga? (Alright, so I just made that up). Let's break it down.

  • The Good

    The story is nothing to boast about, but with a game like this we all know what's important: Fast, insane, multi-player mayhem. And in that respect, Ooga Booga delivers quite nicely.

    Players choose from 4 selectable characters (or "Kahunas"), one representing each of the island tribes. They offer the standard varieties of speed and power; The Twitchy tribe, for example, is fast but frail. The Fatty tribe is slow and brawny. Hoodoo's tribe is quick and crafty, and Hottie's tribe is the all-around average. Once you've identified a tribal soul-mate, it's time to jump in to battle! The gameplay itself is very simple, and based around 3 different events:

    Smakahuna - Chase your enemies around the island, and lay the smack down! Each time you land a hit, you'll be rewarded points depending on the type of attack used. At the end of each round, the player with the highest number of points wins. Simple!

    Apart from your basic "smacking" ability, Shrunken Heads can be found lying around the islands (they actually fall from the trees!). These are collected and tossed at enemy Kahunas, grenade-style. However, the bulk of your attacks come from Spell Tokens -- small spinning discs scattered throughout the levels, that equip your character with different striking abilities. Lightning, Fireballs, and Homing Heads all serve as projectile weapons, while Mines are dropped to await unlucky passers-by. There are also large-scale weapons such as Lighting Cloud, Meteor and Tornado which can not be controlled once launched. Your best bet in this case is simply to let em fly, then dive for cover!

    Creatures also inhabit the islands of Ooga Booga. More specifically, two animals --Boars and Birds-- who are willing to help you earn a few points ...after a little "persuasion", that is (aka: smack 'em on the noggin'). Once stunned, Boars can be ridden around and are great for mowing down Kahunas in your path. Birds will carry you high above the island, allowing an aerial assault on your enemies below. Both animals work on a time limit, kicking you off once they've expired. Take note however, while riding you are also still vulnerable to attacks -- a well aimed Shrunken Head will bring your joyride to an abrupt and painful halt.

    Additionally, some islands are peppered with Tikis - magical wooden carvings that initially appear in a sleeping state. By giving them a set amount of Shrunken Heads, they will awaken and become "claimed" by your team. Should an enemy Kahuna or Tiki be nearby, your Tiki will attack them mercilessly!

    Smakahuna is fast, frantic, and quite fun. It's a blast going head-to-head against your buddies... And there is a strange satisfaction from chasing down enemies atop the back of a wild boar. Or maybe that's just me.

    Boar Polo - This is the second event available, and arguably the most interesting. In this event, two teams play a simplified game of (you guessed it) polo -- smacking, attacking, and charging a giant boulder towards their enemies' goal, hoping to score. Most of the weapons are carried over from the Smakahuna mode, and can be used to either stop your enemies from scoring, or help move the ball for your own team. As the event's namesake suggests, the Boar is indeed your attack of choice. Smashing into the boulder while atop your snout-nosed companion will push it further than any Kahuna could hope to on their own.

    This mode is interesting because you have a specific goal in mind, but are still free to attack other players. There is definitely more strategy involved; trying to score while avoiding attacks takes a fair bit of concentration.

    Rodeo is the final mode of play, which focuses solely on your boar-riding skills. In this event, points are scored only by hitting an opponent while atop a boar, or by knocking another player down from one. Although less entertaining than the other modes, it's good practice for beginners looking to become swine-savvy.

    Visually, Ooga Booga has some nice things going for it. The game engine runs at a virtually rock-solid 60fps, and this keeps things super fast and smooth. The bright, simple palette makes everything clean and easy to see. The characters themselves, while a tad unoriginal, are quite funny. Their animation is nicely done, reflecting the personality of each Kahuna. The winning poses are also pretty great, and should definitely summon a smile upon first viewing. Overall, while the graphics don't strive to break new ground in any area, they get the job done nicely.

    Next: More Good, The Bad, and The Final Word

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